By: Connie – Kirkland, Washington
… please, allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste; I’ve been
around for a long, long year, stole many a man’s soul and faith; and I was round when
Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain; made damn sure that Pilate, washed
his hands and sealed his fate; pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name…
The lyrics above are from a song by the Rolling Stones. Have you ever listened to the words? Can you guess who they are singing about? We talked about him during the Following Christ retreat and he is known by many names. Satan … Lucifer … Devil … Father of Lies … and Deceiver to name a few, but they all refer to the adversary and enemy of God.
I was so happy the retreat talked about spiritual warfare. The cruise ship vs. battleship metaphor was used to examine our spiritual life. Is your spiritual life a cruise ship? Peaceful and relaxing, but going nowhere. Or is it more like a battleship? Locked and loaded with a definite mission. My group thought it was no coincidence when the news that week reported a cruise ship stranded in the middle of the ocean. Talk about going nowhere…
Sometimes being a parent is like being the captain of a battleship. Satan is everywhere in our secular world and he is attacking our children. My kids always protested whenever I mentioned him, “Oh Mom, there you go again with your devil talk…” My message that Satan was real and present in their lives was not well received. Just as I wanted them to recognize God’s glory and gifts, I also wanted them to be watchful for the deceitfulness of Satan.
Do you recognize Satan in your life? I admit that I am not always aware when he is around but the ChristLife retreat jogged my memory. I recalled an incident from my son’s childhood and shared it with my group. I share it now with you.
I have three children and they all learn differently. When my eldest son was in fourth grade he was struggling with math concepts. He had been ill and missed a lot of school so he fell behind his classmates. One chilly afternoon he was in his room working on his homework and I heard him talking to himself. Curious as to what he was doing, I peeked around the corner. My beautiful son, my gift from God, was verbally berating himself at his desk. “You are stupid, you are stupid” were words that he had written many times on his paper and was repeating over and over to himself. You … are … stupid!
I am not proud to share what my reaction was but… I lost it. I totally, totally lost it! My body and mind instantly filled with rage. I threw open his door and started yelling, “YOU ARE NOT STUPID! YOU ARE NOT STUPID! GOD DOESN’T MAKE STUPID!” I wasn’t just yelling; I was practically screaming. I grabbed him and his paper and pulled him into the living room where a fire was crackling in the fireplace. Only slightly calmer I told him how special he was … how loved he was … what a miracle he was … that God made him exactly the way he wanted him to be … that not understanding something was temporary … that God didn’t make stupid. I asked him if he thought the message he was repeating to himself came from God or from someone else. Finally, I helped him tear the paper that he had written on into little pieces and we threw them in the fire.
My anger still burned as hot as the fire; anger that Satan had attacked my son. As we watched the paper burn I held him close to me on the couch. I prayed with him and shared all the positive, Godly thoughts and scripture I could remember. I explained that these types of negative, harmful thoughts were never from God but this was how Satan tried to gain a stronghold in our hearts.
Do you recognize Satan in your life? Are you ready for battle? On that day, at that moment, I recognized him. I saw the Father of Lies clearly and there was nothing for him to hide behind as his lies burned in the hot fire.
May we be ever watchful for Satan and remember, James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Unlike the song title above, we must have NO sympathy for the devil!
Connie works for Holy Family Parish in Kirkland, Washington.